Trump continues to be Putin’s stooge

and the media continues to play along…..

As daily new cases of Covid-19 hit staggering new heights in the United States, the Trump White House has made it clear it has no plan to halt the deadly spread.

We’ve never had a political leader of the United States wage war on America during a national crisis, actively working to undermine the country’s health and wellbeing. Today, Trump represents the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid-19 in the world, according to a recent Cornell University study. And the press still doesn’t know how to deal with this post-truth emergency.

The confusion Trump’s generating is on purpose — that’s the strategy. The goal is to create a nonstop loop of puzzlement to the point where it’s not possible to understand what Trump’s policy is for the defining public health crisis of our time.

He is intent on contradicting critical public health messaging and downplaying the threat of the virus. Aggressively overruling government scientists with decades of experience, and doing his best to silence key voices, and turn them into targets. Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes he now needs around the clock security because of the threats against his life, as he tries to dispense medical advice to a nation under siege. Trump has deliberately undermined the Federal Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It’s part of his larger plan to eviscerate public trust in government institutions — Trump has specifically said large drug companies are better suited to oversee vaccine testing than is the FDA. That’s what autocrats do. They chip away public faith in institutions, and they work hard to demolish establishments from inside.

For longtime Kremlin watchers, what Trump is doing looks familiar — he’s using the Vladimir Putin playbook and what observers in Moscow have called the “fog of unknowability.” It’s an insidious form of state-backed propaganda that Putin has been practicing years on the Russian press.

“Trump’s team is finding ways to shrewdly approximate Putin’s capacity to shape narratives and create alternative realities,” noted Mike Mariani in Vanity Fair, back in 2017. “Specious narratives, conspiracy theories, and indeed fake news have been part of Russia’s geopolitical playbook for more than half a century.” Added The Guardian’s Luke Harding, a longtime Putin expert, “The goal is to confuse the public and to spread the idea that the truth is unknowable. It’s a form of epistemological warfare.”

In the U.S., the news media keep falling for it. Still using the outdated Beltway media playbook where a White House contradiction immediately qualifies as news, the press has wasted untold hours documenting the administration’s Covid-19 inconsistencies (“sowing confusion,” “conflicting narratives”) without acknowledging that the contradictions are the entire point of the misinformation exercise — without asking why Trump and the Republicans remain committed to misleading the public during a health crisis and creating constant bewilderment when lives are at risk?

The press continues to normalize Trump’s planned uncertainty. From CNN recently [emphasis added]:

“….. Donald Trump has lost patience with the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, as well as with the other public health experts on his coronavirus team because their sober messaging on the future of the pandemic clashes with his rosy assessments.”

Trump “has lost patience” with government scientists suggest Trump ever had patience, or that Trump ever intended on listening to solid scientific advice. CNN made it seems as though the CDC did something wrong to trigger Trump’s annoyance. Instead, Trump’s approach, borrowed from Putin, has always been to cover the landscape with misinformation, walk-backs, flip-flops and contradictions.

At National Public Radio, host Pien Huang, normalizing Trump’s erratic tendencies, suggested, “There appears to be a substantive disagreement between (Trump) and his chief public health official on whether or not a vaccine is going to be available soon.” That makes it sound like Trump making up dates for a possible vaccine (this December), means there’s a “substantive disagreement” with scientists. It does not. It means Trump is simply making up dates for a possible vaccine.

For Americans, the government-sponsored confusion surrounding the pandemic has become relentless. The CDC’s Redfield recently walked back strong and unambiguous comments he made about the importance of masks after Trump publicly contradicted him, and then said Redfield had “made a mistake” about the grim fact most Americans won’t have access to a vaccine until next summer. The New York Times reports, “Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer to play down the risk of sending children back to school.”

Inside the White House, there’s a ceaseless attempt to sow confusion. Over the weekend Twitter took down a tweet posted by Scott Atlas, a dubious White House coronavirus adviser, when he linked to an article that claimed wearing a mask does not help slow the spread of the virus. (The article also referred to the virus was “some seasonal flu.”)

And from the Washington Post:

Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas.

This isn’t a distracted White House bumbling its way through a crisis. This is an administration waging war with the truth, just like Putin does. The press needs to stop being amazed that Trump’s creating confusion and contradictions, as the pandemic shows no signs of abetting.

That’s his goal.

edited from Press Run

Robin Arkley’s evil Pac gives $ to senators for Trump’s illegitimate Supreme Court Pick

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arkley-trump1.jpg

A dark money group is pumping millions of dollars into Republicans’ efforts to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court before November.

In 2016, the Judicial Crisis Network spent a staggering $7 million to oppose President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court — a move that Senate Republicans successfully blocked.

In 2017, after Donald Trump was sworn into office, the Judicial Crisis Network spent another $10 million in the fight to confirm Neil Gorsuch.

In 2018, the group spent $3.9 million on television advertising in support of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

Now, the dark-money group is bankrolling a $3 million ad blitz in support of Barrett’s confirmation to the country’s highest court.

So, what is the Judicial Crisis Network, and who are its donors?

The group was first founded in 2004 as the Judicial Confirmation Network. Its first project was funding a campaign in support of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, the two conservative judges nominated by President George W. Bush to serve lifetime appointments on the Supreme Court.

At its start, the group was led by Ann and Neil Corkery, two fierce opponents of abortion and marriage equality, and Robin Arkley II, a California real estate mogul with ties to Charles and David Koch, the billionaire conservative brothers.

Because the group was set up as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group, it does not have to disclose its donors. But deep-pocketed conservatives — from the Koch brothers, to the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo, to hedge fund mogul Paul Singer — have all been linked to the group.

Judicial Crisis Network has proved exceptionally deft at securing Supreme Court confirmations — or blocking them, as the case may be. Now the group is at it again, this time in support of Barrett.

The group is run by Carrie Severino, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. During Thomas’ confirmation hearings, Anita Hill testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her when she was an aide in his office.

After helping to confirm two of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, the group is finding that its initial investment in blocking Garland’s confirmation is still paying dividends.

Before 2015, the organization had never reported more than $6 million in revenue. Then, at some point in between 2015 and 2016, it reported receiving $17.9 million from a single undisclosed donor, according to tax filings first obtained by MapLight. That single donation accounted for 96.6% of the group’s revenue.

Judicial Crisis Network has also received funds from the Wellspring Committee, another 501(c)(4) dark money group funded largely through a shadowy network of conservative donors.

With a conservative majority secured by Barrett, it’s safe to say the Supreme Court would likely uphold laws that allow dark money organizations such as the Judicial Crisis Network to flourish. If Barrett is confirmed, five Supreme Court justices tasked with ruling on campaign finance — Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito, and Roberts — will all have directly benefited from the same dark money group.

In addition to supporting the last four conservative justices confirmed to the Supreme Court, the group has also spent heavily to help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell realize his goal of total conservative control over America’s legal system. Judicial Crisis Network has already donated millions to the Republican Attorney General Association, and has spent heavily to advance Republican judges in both state Supreme Court and circuit court elections.

Should the Senate vote to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Judicial Crisis Network will have played an integral role in ensuring that unlimited dark money spending will continue to shape the U.S. justice system for decades to come.

From The American Independent

enthusiastic electoral boost: from the Taliban.

In what must certainly be regarded as a pivotal endorsement, the Trump campaign has just received an enthusiastic electoral boost: from the Taliban.

“We hope he will win the election and wind up military presence in Afghanistan” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told CBS News in a phone interview Friday.

It turns out that the nice people at the militant and barbaric Taliban are sweetly compassionate regarding the American president.

“When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better,” another Taliban senior leader told CBS News.

The Trump campaign did officially try to distance itself from the Taliban support, owing in no small part to the fact that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan has electoral votes in the U.S. election. But if anyone believes that Trump’s campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, was truly speaking for Trump when he said the campaign “rejects” the Taliban’s support, they’re apparently unaware of the presidential Twitter account.

That, of course, is the only place to learn what Trump and/or his mood-altering drugs think on any particular day–albeit subject to 180-degree turns on a dime. Trump hasn’t Tweeted a word about rejecting–or even not loving–the Taliban’s endorsement, and until he does, consider it not rejected.

After all, the Taliban’s good tidings to Trump immediately followed an utterly shocking announcement Thursday by the President’s (or perhaps his steroids) that all U.S. troops would be leaving Afghanistan until the end of the year.

Apparently, no one in the U.S. military or even the top levels of the Trump administration saw this coming, which would constitute a pretty strange news story most days unless, say, it was drowned out by five or six stranger ones.

None other than the Military Times–not your average supermarket tabloid–blared out this headline in response to Trump’s apparently unscripted announcement: “Military officials blindsided by Trump announcement of early US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

For those who might care about something as mundane as international relations, here’s how the stunned folks at the Military Times tried to digest it all:

“Trump’s comments laid out in a confusing progression of comments and a tweet, alarmed Pentagon and State officials who fear that putting a definitive date on troop withdrawal could undercut negotiations to finalize a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government,” the Times reported.

“They also fear a hasty withdrawal could force the U.S. to leave behind sensitive military equipment. And they continue to stress that the Taliban has still not met requirements to reduce violence against the Afghans, a key element of the U.S. withdrawal plan.”

OK, so’s there’s that. To be clear, no one’s wild about the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. The Military Times added:
“Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden both say they want to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But their approaches differ, and the outcome of the Nov. 3 election will have long-term consequences not only for U.S. troops, but for the wider region.”

Trump hasn’t addressed these nuanced differences at any campaign rallies or those erudite position papers over which he is known to labor into the wee hours in the Oval Office. And that’s a pretty revealing omission, when one considers that just today, Trump devoted part of his scholarly Tweets to this tidbit of foreign-policy analysis:

“Joe Biden is a PUPPET of CASTRO-CHAVISTAS like Crazy Bernie, AOC and Castro-lover Karen Bass. Biden is supported by socialist Gustavo Petro, a major LOSER and former M-19 guerrilla leader. Biden is weak on socialism and will betray Colombia.”

Now, there’s still time for Trump personally to “reject” the Taliban support like his campaign lackeys claim he is doing. Just like there is time to reject support from the endless litany of white supremacist and militia groups who are supporting him. Trump has most conspicuously never publicly rejected their support, not this year, and not in 2016.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to criticize American zealots and terrorists. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for Taliban poll-watchers.

Ray Hartmann- Commentary – Raw Story

Trump enabled far-right white extremist thugs and gangs

Boogaloo Bois

We have every reason to believe that far-right white extremists will engage in violence in the weeks ahead if they do not like the way the presidential election is going or the way it turns out.

Here are five extremist terrorist groups or movements that you should be watching in the months to come.

The Boogaloo Bois

According to NBC News, some of the Wolverine Watchmen arrested in connection with the alleged terrorist plot against Michigan Governor Whitmer are also supporters of the Boogaloo movement — which has been calling for a civil war as well as a race war and seeks the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Boogaloo members also openly advocate killing police officers. In Northern California, Boogaloo supporter Steven Carrillo was arrested in connection with an armed attack on a federal courthouse in Oakland on May 29. That attack left a security officer from the Federal Protective Service dead.

Trump’s claim that Antifa is a terrorist movement is laughable. For all their militant rhetoric, Antifa do not engage in terrorist activities like the alleged plot against Whitmer or the drive-by attack in Oakland. But far-right white nationalist groups do.

QAnon

The QAnon movement has been identified by the FBI as a possible source of domestic terrorism, and its sympathizers are making their way to the U.S. House of Representatives. In Georgia, QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene won a congressional primary on August 11, and given how deeply Republican her district is, it is entirely possible that she will win the general election in November and be sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2021 — which is incredibly disturbing when one considers what QAnon believes. According to the QAnon conspiracy theory, the U.S. government has been infiltrated by an international ring of pedophiles and Satanists, and Trump was put in power to combat the ring. According to QAnon, an anonymous figure named Q is giving them updates on Trump’s battle.

As ludicrous as QAnon’s beliefs are, supporters take them quite seriously. And if Trump loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in November and QAnon members feel a sense of desperation, that could make them even more dangerous and unhinged.

The Proud Boys

During Trump’s debate with Biden on September 29, moderator Chris Wallace (one of the more reasonable conservatives at Fox News) gave Trump every chance to condemn white nationalism and white supremacy. Instead, Trump expressed his solidarity with the far-right Proud Boys — a group of self-described “western chauvinists” who openly advocate violence and have been carrying out violent attacks against members of Black Lives Matter at anti-racism demonstrations. After Trump’s endorsement, members of the Proud Boys expressed their feelings of empowerment and declared that they were ready to carry out acts of violence on the president’s behalf.

Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs, following that debate, posted, “Trump basically said to go fuck them up! This makes me so happy.” By “them,” Biggs was referring to Antifa. And Biggs also posted, “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA…well sir! we’re ready!!”

The Three Percenters movement

The Three Percenters aren’t one specific group, but rather, a movement of far-right militias. Three Percenters are well-armed and engage in military-like training, and they have made it clear that they are fully prepared for armed struggle. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Percenterism is one of three core components within the anti-government militia movement, along with the Oath Keepers and traditional militia groups. The reference to ‘3 Percent’ stems from the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the War of Independence.

The Wolverine Watchmen

The Wolverine Watchmen are among the many militia groups that believe that liberals and progressives and anti-Trump conservatives do not hold power legitimately and that it is their duty to wage armed struggle against their enemies. According to the FBI, the Wolverine Watchmen believed that Whitmer had violated the U.S. Constitution by promoting social distancing restrictions in Michigan in response to the coronavirus pandemic — and after kidnapping her and putting her on “trial” for treason, they would execute her if found guilty. But the group’s activities, the FBI said, went way beyond their alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer: they also hoped to kidnap other officials in Michigan, overthrow the state government and ignite a civil war.

Alternet by way of Raw Story

Normalizing Batshit crazy

Mussolini in full orange make up

With nearly 1,000 Americans continuing to die each day our wanna be Mussolini stood on the balcony last night without a mask gasping for air like a goldfish out of water. Trump is a sick man both mentally and physically we all need to come to terms with that. The media continues to fall into his publicity traps and gives him a bullhorn to yell the opposite of “FIRE” in the theater all the time, causing people to believe him only for them to be incinerated by the fire of Covid-19.

As Eric Boehlert proposes: “Take a step back and try to erase the last four years of Trump mania, and imagine a world leader in October of 2016 who behaved like Trump did — slurred his words while reading a speech off a teleprompter, accused journalists of trying to destroy the economy, suggested giving himself a Medal of Honor, and warned about unfair elections. There’s not a single major news outlet in the U.S. that would shy away from depicting that treacherous leader as unbalanced and unwell. Yet the Beltway press, after four years of watching Trump’s delusional tendencies up-close, still refuses to be honest and blunt about what’s unfolding in America — we have a mad man as president. It’s the biggest political story in half-a-century, but the press is too nervous to dwell on it and deal with the consequences. It’s also likely the press doesn’t want to open Pandora’s box by suggesting the President of the United States is unstable because that would require the media to aggressively cover that story every day for the rest of the Trump’s time in office.”

Trump’s wall of bullying baffling bullshit, a national embarrassment

 

‘Standing by sir’: Proud Boys praise Trump’s comment telling them to ‘stand by’ during first presidential debate

Shedding all semblance of decency, let alone public civility, a desperate Trump turned Tuesday’s presidential debate not only into a brawl but also a national embarrassment. Behaving like a petulant teenager, Trump rolled his eyes, constantly interrupted, hectored, tried to pick fights, and generally made a fool of himself as more than 80 million Americans tuned in, most of whom were likely thinking, ‘What have we become as a nation?’

It was clearly the worst presidential debate in American history, as Fox News moderator Chris Wallace got completely steamrolled by Trump’s bullying ways. And it was a debacle that Trump pre-planned. Allergic to debate prep and still seething about the blockbuster revelation about his massive tax evasion practices, Trump arrived with one goal — to make sure the debate was incomprehensible and that viewers learned as little as possible.

That’s why it’s time to call off the next two debates. Tuesday’s car wreck was a complete waste of time.

Months ago, I urged the Biden campaign to not show up for any of the debates this election season because I didn’t see the benefit of sharing the stage with a madman for 90 minutes. There’s no upside to normalizing his behavior with a presidential debate and the legitimacy it provides. Now everyone sees the results. Biden held his own last night, there’s no question, telling Trump more than once to “shut up,” which in the past would have been unthinkable for a Democrat to utter on a debate stage. And it was exactly what was called for.

But there’s no need to repeat the fiasco. There’s no need for Biden to show up again so Trump can smear Biden family members, make a mockery out of public discourse, and lie relentlessly about every topic discussed during the forums. Running for president is serious business, and Trump is a child.

And yes, the 2020 debates are already so much worse than the 2016 debates, when, in retrospect, Trump at least pretended to occasionally follow some of the norms of public behavior. But all of that is gone now. Lost in the authoritarian power that he craves in the White House, Trump deems it beneath him to share the stage, and the spotlight, with another politician.

Another reason for Biden to politely bow out is because while the press is going to correctly portray the Tuesday debate as a stunning failure, they’re going to couch it in Both Sides language, suggesting Biden was somehow at all responsible for the national embarrassment when it was entirely Trump’s doing.

That was apparent in real-time last night. From Politico: “The first Trump-Biden debate: A trainwreck.” New York Times: “Sharp Personal Attacks and Name-Calling in Chaotic First Debate.” CNN: “Pure Chaos at First Debate.” The Washington Post: “First Trump-Biden meeting marked by constant interruptions by Trump.” Technically those headlines were accurate, but all the news outlets presented the story as if both sides were to blame for the televised disintegration.

There’s also the simple fact that unless the Commission on Presidential Debates allows moderators to cut off Trump’s mic for the next two forums, it’s not possible for any moderator to keep control of the event. Wallace was completely humiliated by Trump, who ran over the Fox News anchor at every turn, making it impossible for there to be anything remotely resembling a revealing or intelligent debate.

Comically, Wallace told the New York Times he wanted to be “invisible” during the debate, meaning it was up to the candidates to engage each other. Commission officials actually thought Wallace would act as a “facilitator,” gently walking Trump through the evening’s topics. That makes sense if you think Trump is a rational, sane person. But Trump’s a nihilistic actor. And the Beltway’s refusal to acknowledge that — to think that protocols like presidential debates could still be adhered to — fueled last night’s disaster.

It also lends credence to canceling the next two debates, because it’s not possible to stage a two-person debate when one of them is a sociopath. The debate Commission can act quickly to try to save this format, by allowing Trump’s mic to be cut. But anything short of that would be a waste of time. It would be a waste of Biden’s time, and a waste of Americans’ time.

Trump has torn up so many norms and traditions with his radical behavior. So let’s add another one to the list — let’s cancel the next two debates. Nobody will miss them.

 

Eric Boehlert Press Run

 

Hey Democratic leadership, what’s the f-ing plan???

Democrats in Congress have done little in the week since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Even as the high court’s ideological balance is going to shift to the hard right — and as the wanna be dictator refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power — prominent Senate Democrats have rushed to tamp down talk of retaliatory action. This leaves little doubt that the opposition party is unequipped to handle the threat posed to democracy by Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Senate Republican leadership has made it clear they intend to ram through a new Supreme Court justice, most likely in the final week before Election Day. By his own admission, Trump wants a new justice seated by then because he intends to use the federal judiciary to nullify enough absentee ballots to hand him a second term.

While officially attempting to assuage concern about Trump’s plans, prominent Republicans have essentially admitted that the plan is to have the Supreme Court, not the voters, decide this election. “I promise you as a Republican, if the Supreme Court decides that Joe Biden wins, I will accept the result,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the New York Times. “The court will decide, and if Republicans lose, we’ll accept the result.”

Graham reportedly wants to schedule confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee for the week of Oct. 12. That would mean a party-line committee vote near the end of the following week, and a vote on the Senate floor before Halloween, making it the fastest confirmation process in recent history. In addition to Trump’s pick potentially ruling on an election dispute, Republicans are eager to have another ultraconservative justice seated in time for a case on the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court will hear only a week after Election Day.

The Democrats’ response to such threats this week can fairly be described as pitiful.

The opposition party’s best bet is to slow down the process until after the election and use the fight as a means to rally their voters to take control of all three branches of government, by defeating Trump and seizing a Senate majority. But simply opposing his nominee won’t be even close to enough — not when Trump has made no secret of his plans to use the courts to his electoral advantage. So far, Democrats have shown no real appetite for a fight.

It’s been a near-universal show of surrender from Democrats — even as their voters have sent more $200 million in donations to Democratic candidates and causes since Ginsburg’s passing. If they want to rally and sustain public support, Democrats might want to fight as if they believed they could win.

Republicans lie, cheat and steal. Democrats pretend to “resist” with weak appeals to the nonexistent conscience of Republicans who long ago sold their supposed principles down the river…

Appeals to get out and vote, which Nancy Pelosi presented this week as the last and most effective remedy, don’t take into account that Trump’s plan to steal the election will kick in after Americans have voted, but before all those votes have been counted. Even if Democrats take back the Senate, they won’t be allowed to govern in the face of relentless obstructionism and the stolen Supreme Court. They have to know that.

Republicans have handed Democrats a legitimate rationale for expanding the court — to 11 or 15 or possibly 19 seats. Those Democrats who are willing to engage the idea are the only ones who should be taken seriously during this moment!!!

Main sources Salon and Raw Story

The authoritarian cult of Trump explained

The Brain’s Attention System Is More Strongly Engaged by Trump
According to a study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple language clearly resonate with some at a visceral level.

America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction to entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With the Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn.”

Some intelligent people who know better are supporting Trump simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Democrats like Hillary Clinton that their support for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington. These people do not have their priorities straight and perhaps have other issues, like an innate desire to troll others, or a deranged obsession with schadenfreude.

The Fear-Factor: Conservatives Are More Sensitive to Threat

Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A 2008 study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Hispanic immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with offensive and divisive remarks.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans Often Overestimate Their Political Expertise

Some support Donald Trump do so out of ignorance — basically, they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed, which creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” These people cannot be reached because they mistakenly believe they are the ones who should be reaching others.

Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others

Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that “…the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.” This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters’ physical distance from the Mexican border.

Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable

While the conspiracy theory crowd — who predominantly support Donald Trump and crackpot allies like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon — may appear to just be an odd quirk of modern society, the truth is that many of them suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them, like those with schizotypy personalities.

The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established, and a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has demonstrated that it is still very prevalent in the population. The researchers found that those who were more likely to believe in outlandish conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the U.S. government created the AIDs epidemic, consistently scored high on measures of “odd beliefs and magical thinking.” One feature of magical thinking is a tendency to make connections between things that are actually unrelated in reality.

Donald Trump and his media allies target these people directly. All one has to do is visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation.

A study published last year in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a direct link between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump. This correlation was discovered by researchers at the University of Warsaw, who surveyed over 400 Americans with a series of questionnaires about political and social beliefs. Where individual narcissism causes aggressiveness toward other individuals, collective narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outsider’ groups (outgroups), who are perceived as threats.

Donald Trump exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric. By referring to his supporters, an overwhelmingly white group, as being “true patriots” or “real Americans,” he promotes a brand of populism that is the epitome of “identity politics,” a term that is usually associated with the political left. Left-wing identity politics, as misguided as they may sometimes be, are generally aimed at achieving equality, while the right-wing brand is based on a belief that one nationality and race is superior or entitled to success and wealth for no other reason than identity.

The Desire to Want to Dominate Others

Social dominance orientation (SDO) — which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome (#13) — refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.

In Trump’s speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities). A study published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were those who intended to vote for Trump in the election.

Authoritarian Personality Syndrome

Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality syndrome —  a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition — is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.

Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals, it is more common among the right-wing around the world. Trump’s speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters,” are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome.

While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored Trump

 

Edited from Raw Story by Bobby Azarian is a neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist.

In honor of RBG here’s what we propose:

Jail time for causing more than 200000 deaths from the Trump Enabled Coronavirus

 

Win back the Senate

Win back the White House

Solidify our hold on the House of representatives

Statehood for Washington DC and Puerto Rico

More judges for the Supreme Court so it doesn’t tilt right or left

Bill Barr should be charged with his crimes and stand trial

Mike Pompeo should be charged with his crimes and stand trial

The whole Trump crime family should be charged with crimes and stand trial

More than 190000 deaths! Put them all on trial

 

Nuremberg trials


Listening to the tapes recorded by Bob Woodward and hearing Trump’s confessions that he knew exactly what he was doing.
Given the soaring death toll from COVID-19 and the continuing public display of police brutality in the United States, it seems to us that it’s time to convene a Nuremberg style trial for the deaths that have been caused by the Trump regime.
Trump, Barr, Pompeo, Pence, McConnell the whole complicit crew should stand trial for the death and suffering they have willfully caused in this country.

Anyone else would be charged with manslaughter so let’s prosecute them.